Finding America by RV—New Mexico’s Billy the Kid Trail

Chasing down legends of the Old West doesn’t have to be a rugged journey, thanks to modern RV comforts.  Our next installment in our Finding America by RV series takes us to east central New Mexico, where Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway loops through Wild West towns, a frontier fort and enough outdoor experiences to keep you busy for weeks. 

How Do We Get There?

Billy the Kid Trail is easy to reach by RV.  From Albuquerque, travel south on I-25 to the ghost town of San Antonio, NM and then southeast on US-380 to Capitan (about a three-hour journey). It’s also an eight-hour drive from Denver using the same interstate.

The Trail itself is the loop formed by NM-48, Hwy-70 and Hwy-380, with a dash across the middle to Fort Stanton NCA on NM-220. On your way you’ll pass through Ruidoso, Hondo, Lincoln and Capitan, NM.

What Can We See and Do There?

Billy the Kid Trail takes you through the pine forests, mountains and mesas of Lincoln National Forest, with two rivers—the Rio Bonito and Rio Ruidoso, providing scenic and recreation possibilities. You’ll begin to understand why the Trail’s namesake, that infamous teenage gunslinger, was able to hide so well here with his Regulators following the bloody Lincoln County War in the late 1870s.

The Sierra Blanca Range will surround you throughout your journey, with the highest peak in southern New Mexico, Sierra Blanca Peak, visible to your southwest on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Besides the Southwestern wilderness through which you’ll travel, you’re also going to discover some fascinating Wild West locations.

Starting with the town of Ruidoso, at the intersection of Hwy-70 and NM-48, you’ll get a sense of the many cultures who built the region. This mountain town with a scenic river flowing through it is also surrounded by adventure, with Ski Apache on Sierra Blanca Peak offering excellent skiing in winter (and views from New Mexico’s only ski gondola year-round) and world-famous horse racing just down the road at Ruidoso Downs.

Plunge into New Mexico’s outlaw history by traveling east on Hwy-70 to Hondo and then north on Hwy-380 to Lincoln, NM, scene of the two-year skirmish known as the Lincoln County War. Lincoln State Monument is a well-preserved collection of 1870s structures that tell the story of two ranchers who once owned the only store in immense Lincoln County and kept a stranglehold on supplies for nearby Fort Stanton, as well as neighboring ranches.

Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid

The museums, buildings and exhibits bear witness to the bloody struggle that erupted when a second store was opened in the region, supported by Billy the Kid and his ‘Regulators’. They also tell the story of the arrest, escape and murderous exploits of the Kid following the Lincoln County Wars, before being gunned down by Pat Garrett in 1881.

And that’s not all you’ll find along this national scenic byway that tells the tale of this region’s history. Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area, in the middle of your loop, is a national treasure. From the Rio Bonito Petroglyph National Trail, bearing witness to the Jornada Mogollon people who lived in the region from 1 AD to 1500 AD, to artifacts from the days African American Buffalo Soldiers were based at the fort, the story will be fascinating.

Besides the Petroglyph Trail, more than ninety miles of trails invite hikers and mountain bikers to discover the secrets of the NCA’s desert mountain terrain. Keep your eyes open for mule deer, elk and black bears as you drive, hike or ride within the National Conservation Area. Speaking of conserving wildlife, Snowy River Cave isn’t open to non-scientific exploration at the present time, in order to eradicate a disease threatening area bat populations.

Where Can We Camp Near Billy the Kid Trail?

You may have already guessed that this national byway is a favorite of RV travelers to New Mexico. Because it is, you’ll discover every style RV campground along your route. In Lincoln National Forest, for example, fans of boondocking are allowed to camp along forest roadways, as long as they observe certain guidelines.

There are also two developed campgrounds with inexpensive campsites within the national forest. For those who prefer a little more comfort when RV camping in New Mexico, private campgrounds near Ruidoso and Alto are waiting to welcome you on your visit.

There you have it, one more reason to rent an RV or take your own motorhome out of storage when camping season calls. Billy the Kid Trail—a journey to find history, beauty and adventure in New Mexico.

Posted in New Mexico RV Camping, New Mexico RV Camping Vacation, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

Get the Jump on Planning Spring RV Camping

The winter months aren’t kind to many parts of the US, where motorhomes and trailers sit tucked away in storage. Those cold winter months, however, are the best time to plan for camping once the snow thaws. We’ve collected some helpful tips that smart RV campers use to get the jump on planning spring RV excursions.

Tip #1: Save the Date!

While there’s virtue in being spontaneous, many popular campgrounds fill quickly with the first hint of spring. They may also take reservations for campsites months in advance.

If there’s a special place that beckons you to set up camp, check the website or give them a call and find out when the campground opens (if not year-round), how far in advance you can book campsites and, if you’re planning to go on a holiday weekend, whether there’s a minimum number of days for reservations.

By mapping out your spring camping season in advance, and booking your campsites early, you’ll avoid disappointment and have more time to enjoy the places you love to camp.

Here’s a quick list of ideas to get more information on popular RV camping venues in America:

  • State-by-State private campground list at ElMonteRV.com.
  • Access to info on US Forestry Service, National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds at recreation.gov.
  • Campgrounds on State and Federal public lands at reserveamerica.com.
  • Kampgrounds of America listings at koa.com.
  • Information on National Park seasons, campgrounds and activities at nps.gov.
  • Also check individual RV campground and resort websites

Tip #2: Do Your Homework on Special Event Camping

For spring RV camping that’s connected to a festival or sporting event, it pays to do your homework months in advance.

You might, for instance, be planning to go RV camping to the legendary South by Southwest festival in Austin next March. If you are, this link to Austin area campgrounds is a good place to start. By booking early, you’ll have a better chance of scoring campsites close to the SXSW events you plan to attend.

Baseball fans, on the other hand, might be planning to travel by RV to the final round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles. Pick a Los Angeles area campground and book your campsite now for the best experience next March. Double your California camping fun by planning to camp near San Diego and attend Round Two games for the Classic the week before.

Or you may love traveling by RV to Cactus League spring training baseball games in Arizona, or Grapefruit League pre-season match-ups in Florida. Either way, you’ll want to reserve your campsites early near your favorite ballparks.

The bottom line to optimum spring RV camping at sporting events and festivals: buy your tickets and book your campsites early. You’ll be glad you did.

Tip #3: Reserve Your Trailer or Motorhome Rental

If owning a motorhome isn’t on your horizon, you can still plan to camp next spring. Renting an RV is an affordable way to experience camping at your favorite locations. Use this RV rental link to get in touch with helpful El Monte RV staff who can help you reserve the RV you need.

Find out how early you can book reservations, especially surrounding special events or near popular camping venues such as national parks. It’s easier than you think to rent an RV, and we’re happy to help with the planning.        Spring Camping Planning

Spring’s Coming Sooner Than You Think!

It may be hard to imagine camping at your favorite campground when the snow’s piling up outdoors. Spring, however, waits for no camper and it’s going to be here before you know it. Pick a place where you can play outdoors, watch exciting sports action or hear live music close to your campground and start planning. Spring RV camping season will be here sooner than you think!

Posted in RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Preparation | Leave a comment

10 Ways to Stay Safe and Healthy on a U.S. Road Trip

by: Bree Weidman

If you’re planning an RV-style road trip across the United States, you’ve probably got one thing on your mind- adventure! From the endless deserts and painted skies of the “Wild West” to the coastal plains and rolling seas of the Eastern Seaboard, the U.S. has plenty to offer international visitors.

To help you prepare for your trip, we’ve taken into account both U.S. culture and the rules of the road to devise these 10 health and safety tips:

  1. Don’t advertise yourself as a tourist

When you look like you don’t know where you’re going (or if it’s clear you’re “not from around here”), thieves are more likely to view you as an easy target. Keep the road maps in your car out of plain sight, recommends RoadTripAmerica, and “if your vehicle is laden with luggage, park where you can see it from a restaurant or store.”

Don’t want to dress like a tourist? Learn all about American clothing and style with this free guide.

  1. Make frequent stops

Every few hours, pull over and take a break- even if you don’t think you’re sleepy. Use this time to stretch your legs, revel in the fresh air, and get some nourishment. But don’t park on the shoulder or in the breakdown lane unless you have an emergency, says Independent Traveler.

If you’re traveling in a group, rotating drivers will allow you to nap without wasting valuable time. And if you’re traveling solo, the site recommends listening to music, cracking your window, and refraining from using speed control, since concentrating can help keep you awake. If you’re too tired to drive, certainly pull over for a nap!

  1. Understand distracted-driving laws

Hopefully you already know not to drink and drive (and to always wear your seatbelt). But did you know that using a hand-held cell phone while driving is against primary enforcement law in 14 U.S. states? This means you can be cited even without committing an additional traffic offense.

The U.S. has primary enforcement laws regarding the use of seatbelts, too. For additional info on seatbelt laws, DUI laws, and more, check out this Guide to U.S. Culture and Customs. 

  1. Have an emergency plan in place before severe weather hits

Upon arriving in a new location, take time to devise an emergency plan, suggest Jason and Kristin Snow of Snowmads.com. Be sure to find the nearest storm shelter and evacuation spots- especially in areas prone to floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes.

The “snowmads” also recommend that you react quickly to severe weather threats, value your life (and the lives of law enforcement) above the welfare of your possessions, and gather “the most up-to-date weather data available.”

  1. Prepare your vehicle for long-distance travel

Like cars, RV’s need to be properly serviced and maintained. According to Camping World, oil and filters should be changed at regular intervals, roof seals and seams should be inspected every 6 months, and tire pressure and lug nuts should be inspected before every trip. Before jetting off on your vacation, check with your RV rental company to see what your responsibilities are.

  1. Pack an emergency kit

No traveler really wants to consider the possibility of becoming stranded on the side of the road, but emergencies happen- especially on long-term trips. Having these 6 things in your emergency kit can save you a world of trouble.

  1. Invest in physical maps – and a guidebook

While it’s a good idea to load your smartphone with travel apps (Google Maps, GasBuddy, and iExit will all come in handy), there’s still a chance you’ll run into spotty cell service in the U.S. For those times you can’t get a signal, a fold-out atlas is ideal.

A Dangerous Business travel blog recommends a Rand McNally road atlas and a book like The Next Exit, a complete guide to interstate highway amenities.

  1. Get international travel health insurance

Did you know that a broken leg can cost up to $7,500 to fix in the United States? Before departing your home country, it’s your responsibility as an international traveler to find out whether your standard medical insurance policy covers you outside your home country.

If it doesn’t (and many do not), an international travel medical plan can provide coverage for eligible expenses resulting from unexpected illness or injury. Not only do these plans provide financial protection and access to quality medical care, but some plans include benefits like Medical Evacuation, Natural Disaster, and Personal Liability.

  1. Read up on social etiquette

There’s more to feeling safe and secure on a road trip than simply avoiding injury. In addition to prepping your vehicle for travel, following traffic laws, and acquiring insurance, be sure to read up on social etiquette in the U.S. By understanding behavioral norms, you can bypass uncomfortable (or, in worst-case scenarios, threatening) situations.

This Guide to U.S. Culture and Customs has everything you need to know- from general manners, acceptable gestures, and welcome topics of conversation to dining etiquette and tipping guidelines!

  1. Keep your valuables safe

Get in the habit of locking your RV each time you head out, no matter how safe a campground appears. Lock valuables in either the glove compartment or trunk before you reach your destination, suggests Independent Traveler. If possible, luggage should be stored in the trunk.

Kampgrounds of America recommends also keeping your shades closed and purchasing devices to protect your vehicle while you’re gone, like a safe, trailer-hitch lock, or motion detector.

If you thought these tips were helpful, find these and many more in this free, downloadable Guide to U.S. Culture and Customs! Following these tips and tricks will result in a seamless cultural transition- no matter where you choose to stop along the way. 

Bree Weidman is a Marketing Specialist for Tokio Marine HCC – MIS Group, a full-service insurance organization offering domestic short term and travel medical insurance products to international travelers worldwide.  Though she’s been writing her entire life, Bree has been a contributing author of the MIS Group blog for about a year now, covering topics paramount to global adventurers: health, safety, culture, and insurance, to name a few. When Bree isn’t writing, you’ll likely find her daydreaming about her next international vacation!

Posted in RV Travel Tips, USA travel, Vacation Planning, vacation tips | Leave a comment

Create an RV Camping Classroom for the Kids!

Smart families start planning their spring RV camping trips early to get the best reservations and discounts. There’s another reason to plan early for your next camping vacation with the kids—you’ll have time to create a fun ‘RV camping classroom’ to keep them entertained, educated and challenged as you travel.

Family Fun in an El Monte RV

Family Fun in an El Monte RV!

We’ve got lots of ideas for teaching young campers as you travel—and they won’t even mind the homework!

RV Camping Classroom Ideas

  • Catch the Camping Bug:  Bring along a magnifying glass (or load a magnifying app on your cell phone) and plastic containers with lids and go on an insect safari. Have youngsters look up ahead of time what kinds of bugs live where you’ll be camping. Give a small prize (gummy bugs?) for each kind they find, and ask them  to write about, draw or make up a story about the insects they catch. Tip: Accompany younger kids to avoid insect bites!
  • Create a Colorful Campground: When it’s time to take a break from swimming, hiking and other outdoor activities, set up watercolors and sturdy paper on the picnic table. Encourage young artists to interpret nature on paper, and take along fishing line and bag clips to make a campground art gallery.
  • Vacation Memories in a Box: Another artistic way to encourage campground learning is to bring a shoebox for each child, along with a collection of art supplies. Have each young artist create a diorama that represents their favorite memories of the trip—natural wonders, campground antics, animals in the wild—you may be surprised by what they want to remember! Pack their creations carefully to display back home.
  • Camping Finance Challenge: RV camping makes vacations affordable, but do the kids know what it costs to take your trips? Give each child a ledger (paper or app) where they can record expenses along the way (here’s a great sample ledger.) Give them a head start by taking them shopping for camping trip groceries and supplies. Point out where to see the cost of gas on a pump and how to figure tips at roadside cafes. Up the ante by giving each child a budget for their own camping expenses like souvenirs and snacks. Award the best budget hound for keeping accurate track of the most expenses.
  • Look to the Skies! One of the things we love most about camping in the great outdoors is the ability to see stars and constellations invisible in the city. Teach your kids about the heavens by taking along a telescope, using a helpful astronomy app like Pocket Universe or just laying on a blanket and looking up. There are lots of ways to expand this RV classroom exercise—draw, paint or sculpt what they see in the sky, write a story about space travel or challenge them to make up their own planets, complete with occupants!
  • Animal Arithmetic: Create a simple set of miniature playing cards on paper, with a photo or picture of common birds or animals on each and a numeric value assigned. Have the youngsters cut them out and put a set for each of them in envelopes. As you travel and camp, instruct them to watch for those birds and animals, look them up on their cards and track the numeric value on the outside of their envelopes. Decide how much you’ll let them score for spotting unusual species. On the last day of your RV camping vacation, have them add their totals and award a prize to the child with the highest score.
  • Camp Captain: Teach your children leadership skills on vacation by telling them ahead of time they’ll be in charge of one family activity.
  • Assign them a campground meal to plan and enlist others to help them cook.
  • Let them decide what hiking trail the family will take and then ask them to plan how long it should take and what they’ll need to take along (water, snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, etc.).
  • If you’re camping near historical sites, have them choose one as a day trip and then prepare a preview for the family.

Any kind of activity families can do while camping can be turned into a fun and educational experience. Remember to allow young campers to do things to their own ability and don’t expect perfection—you’re on vacation, after all!

Let us know what types of RV camping classroom ideas you’ve tried while traveling with the kids. Share your epic successes (and your funny failures) below so other camping families can learn from your experience. And don’t forget to let us know if you need help planning an RV rental

Photo Credit:  An El Monte RV customer photo, permission granted.

Posted in educational trips, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Motorhome Camping, RV blog, RV Camping, RV Camping Resources, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RVing with kids, Vacation Planning | Tagged | Leave a comment

What to Pack When You’re RV Camping

Are you planning for your first-ever RV camping trip and aren’t sure what to pack?  No worries! We’ve created an RV packing checklist to help ensure your motorhome camping premier is a success.

Get Away as Far as the Road will Take You in an El Monte RV!

Get Away as Far as the Road will Take You in an El Monte RV!

Here’s how to get started:

    1. If you haven’t called to rent an RV for the trip, do that now for best selection.
    2. Buy storage containers with lids in several sizes (check your local thrift store for bargains on both containers and basic camp supplies.)
    3. Pack these basics inside and stow them in your RV for quick access when you set up camp.  You’re going to love the convenience and economy of cooking meals in your RV kitchen.  Plan your menu first, with an eye to using the same pots, pans and serving dishes to save space.  There are plenty of excellent RV cookbooks to help you plan.  Here’s a basic packing list for your RV kitchen:

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Kitchen Essentials

  • We’ve divided the things you’ll need to pack into several categories, to make your planning simpler.  The list may seem overwhelming at first glance, but once you’ve checked off the list for your first trip, you’ll be ready every time you go camping!
  • Dutch oven with lid
  • Skillet with lid
  • Smaller sauce pan with lid
  • Microwaveable bowls
  • Spatulas and spoons
  • Basic dish set – plates, bowls, cups, glasses, eating utensils
  • Serving dishes
  • Camp percolator or teapot, coffee, tea and filters
  • Water Pitcher
  • Small cutting board
  • Pot holders and dish towels
  • Dishpan, dish soap and scrubbers
  • Food storage supplies – foil, sealable plastic bags, containers, plastic wrap
  • Small utensils – potato peeler, measuring cups/spoons, corkscrew, paring and chopping knives, can and bottle openers
  • Food items from your menu (don’t forget the spices!)

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Cleaning

  • Keeping your motorhome clean throughout the trip means a safe, enjoyable vacation, so be sure to pack these basic supplies. Use a plastic trash container with a lid to stow these essentials.
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Toilet brush
  • Sponges
  • Disinfectant spray ( make sure RV is well-ventilated or it may set off the carbon alarm.)
  • Dual purpose mop/sweeper & pads
  • Trash bags
  • Plastic trash containers – large & small
  • * NOTE that many RV rental companies such as El Monte RV offer housekeeping and kitchen kits that provide some of the aforementioned items for an additional fee.  Check website for exact details.  This makes sense for many RV renters who wish to save time.  (Please note:  these are not available at all locations.)

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Safety/First Aid

  • Basic first aid kit –
    • adhesive bandages
    • antiseptic wipes
    • tweezers
    • antibiotic ointment
    • insect repellant
    • sunscreen
    • aloe skin lotion
    • saline eye drops
    • gauze pads and white tape
    • daily and emergency medications
    • pain reliever
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Small kitchen fire extinguisher

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Miscellaneous

  • These are the things you’ll wish you’d packed!
  • Duct tape
  • Small tool kit with screwdrivers, hammer, wrenches
  • Jumper cables
  • Bungee cords with hooks
  • Extra batteries
  • Cellphone chargers
  • Lanterns – battery or gas
  • Power strip
  • Lawn chairs (bagged, collapsible ones pack best)
  • Doormat
  • Sun glasses
  • small ice chest for keeping drinks close at hand while outside.
  • firewood and matches – if you’ll being enjoying campsite camping as well.

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Comfort

  • Bedding – sheets, pillowcases, comforters, pillows
  • Small electric or battery powered fan
  • Toilet paper & tissues  that are designed for septic tanks.  It will prevent clogging issues!
  • Wash cloths & towels
  • Hand sanitizer & liquid hand soap.
  • DVDs for the DVD player.  It’s nice to remember that the kids enjoy watching movies while travelling on the road.

Once you’ve gathered and packed the items above, all that’s left is clothing and toiletries and you’re ready to hit the road. Remember – you can buy many of these things (and the storage containers) at second-hand stores.  If you purchase separate kitchen, cleaning and safety items for camping, you can store them in their labeled containers between trips for a quick grab & go vacation and they will work double-duty as Emergency KIts as well.  You really are setting yourself up for a great camping experience as well as  being prepared for an unexpected emergency!   You can get a jumpstart on all of this prep work way in advance of your trip and enjoy the peace of mind that you’re prepared to handle just about any situation on the road or at home.  Camping in RV comfort takes planning, but the ease of living on the road in a motorhome makes the preparation worthwhile!  What’s your #1 essential item you pack for every RV vacation?

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credit:  photo is an El Monte RV stock photo.

Posted in Cost effective RV Vacation, Cross Country Trip, family vacations, honeymoon vacation ideas, Hunting, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, National Parks, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, Recipe, RV blog, RV Camping Resources, RV Rental, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV travel in the western states, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RV Vacation Preparation, United States RV Vacation, Vacation Planning | Leave a comment

Short on Time, But Want to Experience Long-Distance RV Adventures?

Taking an RV vacation has many advantages over staying night after night in various hotels.  For instance, you can’t beat the convenient mobility perk of motor homes by taking all your possessions with you, in addition to the privacy and comfort of having your own “home” away from home at any vacation destination you’re visiting.  The convenience that RVing affords families with children and pets is well worth the effort, time, and money spent on experiencing an RV rental vacation!  Some people never consider renting an RV for long-distance vacations, like going to the Grand Canyon from New York, believing they would have to drive the entire distance in the RV.  Fortunately for the vacationers who enjoy convenience and luxury, El Monte RV offers a wonderful solution to make that kind of a trip possible!

El Monte RV motor home at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

El Monte RV motor home at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

For this type of traveler, a “Fly and Drive” RV trip might be the perfect solution.  In a nutshell, travelers looking into this manner of vacation will fly to an El Monte  RV rental location near their destination in order to pick up an RV before staring on their adventure.   There is an upward trend building in this “Fly and Drive” travel experience for several good reasons.

Probably the top and most obvious reason at hand is not having enough time to drive the entire distance just to get to your final destination.   Depending on the kind of trip you have in mind, this aspect of the “Fly and Drive” option is a win-win!   While road trips are a lot of fun and enhance the RV trip, it may not fit into your time schedule.  It serves a better purpose for some people to get there quickly so that they can start using their RV the way they want to.  Another reason to fly and drive is that it can be the most economical way to visit a national park or other destination on the other side of the country.  Instead of paying for all of the gas just to get to your destination, a plane ticket may be a cheaper alternative.

If you decide to fly and drive to your destination, there are a few simple steps to follow to make your trip a success!  Early planning is the best policy; it is usually the cheapest way to go, as well as having the increased availability for campsites and RV selections!   After deciding where you want to go,  you’ll need to do a little research first.  You will want to locate the nearest RV campgrounds or other sites that allow overnight RV parking before making your RV reservations.  Especially when considering a stay in a national or state park, you’ll want to know the size of your RV rental first because the RV size can make a difference in whether or not there will be site availability.  Before reserving your camping spot, find the closest El Monte RV location to reserve and book the RV that will be perfect for you, remember to take note of the size of your motor home.  Then make a call to the campground and reserve your RV camping spot!

Next, you’ll need to book your flight tickets!   El Monte RV offers shuttle service at their larger store locations.  You will want to verify upon booking your RV rental whether or not that particular location provides shuttle service.  An alternate choice for a low-cost way to get from the airport to your El Monte RV location is using a car transport service such as Uber.  This modern and popular alternative to taking taxis is usually the cheapest and easiest way to get to your El Monte RV location, and you’ll be able to use it to get back to the airport at the end of your vacation as well.  Make sure to download the app to your smart phone before you leave on vacation, as this will allow you to hail an Uber car as soon as you walk out of the airport!

If you’re thinking about taking an RV vacation this year, don’t hold yourself back from anywhere in the U.S. that you’ve thought about going in an RV.  If the nearest El Monte RV location isn’t within easy driving distance, consider doing a Fly and Drive vacation instead!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HEREor call 1-888-337-2208

 

Posted in RV Rentals, RV Travel Tips, Vacation Planning | Leave a comment

Find the Best Apps for RV Camping and Your Next Road Trip

Renting from El Monte RV  is such a simple and fun experience that the rest of your trip planning should be, too.  Technology can help you do just that!  With recent improvements in smart phones, most Americans are walking around with the equivalent of a computer in their back pockets.  Put all that power to work by using apps on your phone to make your next RV trip the easiest and most memorable one of your life!

Happy El Monte RV Customers

Happy El Monte RV Customers

Here are four exceptional smart phone apps that will simplify everything from setting up your trip to navigating beautiful country roads.

1.  Roadtrippers

The first step in planning youar RV trip is deciding where you want to go.  Once you’ve picked that main destination, you’ll need to consider where you should stop along the way. Roadtrippers is an app that helps you discover fun and offbeat side trips all along the route to your destination.  Everything from peculiar local attractions to awesome local restaurants will announce themselves for your discovery when you have this app installed.

2.  Waze

Have you ever found yourself stuck in the middle of a traffic jam and wished you had been able to see ahead in order to take a different route?  Waze can help you do just that!  It compiles information from over a million users of the app, and it does far more than Google Maps or your in-vehicle GPS can.  In addition to warning you of upcoming traffic, Waze can also tell you where accidents have occurred and even where to expect police speed traps!  Don’t leave home on your next RV vacation without it.

3.  Trip Advisor City Guides

Once you get to your destination, you may have a few landmarks, hiking trails, or restaurants in mind that you’re planning on experiencing, but are you really getting the most out of your trip? Trip Advisor’s City Guides app acts as your personal guidebook to help you get more out of every area you visit.  Having this app is like having your own personal assistant alongside you informing you of events and places to visit that you may have never heard about otherwise the entire time you’re on the road!

4.  RV Parking

Arriving at your destination and getting to explore a bit may be the most fun part of your trip, but you will still need to find a spot to park the RV for the night.  RV Parking is a great app with an exhaustive database of campsites that accept RVs.  You can also review ratings from fellow travelers to find out the experience others have had about each of these campsites.  With modern smart phone technology, the saying really is, “Know before you go!”

These four apps provide a great start for anyone that is looking to have a smart and savvy vacation experience!  There are more great travel apps to make your next vacations as fantastically smooth as possible.  Take a look, and you might find an app so good you’ll wonder how you lived without it!  Since El Monte RV is committed to help you make your trip as memorable as possible, give them a call today to get the help you need to start planning your next RV vacation!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HEREor call 1-888-337-2208

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The “Real Food” RV Recipe Challenge is Now Open For Submissions!

Summertime means that RV travelers across the country are heading out on vacation.  Whether you’re headed for the Grand Canyon or Gettysburg, there’s one factor that every trip planner has to take into account:  FOOD!   Around all the sightseeing and awesome activities you have planned, you’re bound to get pretty hungry!  Here at El Monte RV Rentals we have our favorite on-the-road meals, but we’re launching a recipe contest to find out what you love to make.   We’re excited to announce the El Monte “Real Food RV Recipe Challenge!”

Real Food Recipe Contest

Real Food Recipe Contest

The Real Food Recipe challenge is an opportunity to share your favorite healthy and delicious recipes with the rest of the world.  All you have to do is take a photo of your prepared dish and compile the recipe instructions and submit them on El Monte RV’s Facebook page.  Decide which dish your family loves when you’re out on the road and follow the simple steps for telling the rest of the RV community about it.

All entries will be judged by Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food.  Lisa’s blog is a fantastic source for finding ways to incorporate “real food” into your everyday diet.  What does “real food” mean?  It’s using all-natural and local ingredients that haven’t been overly processed.  If you want to learn more about what using real food will mean for the RV Recipe Challenge, read Lisa Leake’s Real Food Defined.  Lisa’s blog has lots of tips for making real food that tastes great!

In order to get ready, here is the scoring breakdown that you should consider:

25% Taste: pick your best-tasting meal!  Are your pork chops worth writing songs about?  Does the whole neighborhood come out when they smell your pancakes cooking?  Use your best tasting recipe!

25% Creatively Using “Real Food”: processed white sugar and the deep fat fryer will have no place in these recipes. El Monte is looking for healthy meals that taste great!

25% RV Friendliness: making a great meal work in the limited space of an RV is an important part of the challenge.  Can you create a great recipe that works in an RV’s kitchen?

25% Photo Quality: make sure that your photo looks great.  The world will want to see what your prize-winning dish looks like!

It wouldn’t be a contest without a prize, and the prize for the El Monte “Real Food” Recipe Challenge is a fantastic one.  The best recipe and photo, as judged by Lisa Leake, will win a free one week RV rental from El Monte RV!  Now is your chance to experience luxury camping in a motor home

So, get the camera out and start putting your submission together today.  Also, make sure you start planning where you’d like to take that free RV rental for your next vacation.  It could be yours sooner than you realize!  Just think: when you enter the El Monte “Real Food” Recipe Challenge, not only will you be ready for a great vacation, you’ll already know which family favorite meal you’ll be making in the RV along the way!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE!  or call 1-888-337-2208

Posted in blog, Contest, family vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Nature travel, RV blog, RV Rentals, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation News, United States RV Vacation, Vacation Planning | Leave a comment

Harvest Hosts Upgrades the Way RVers Travel in the U.S.

As much as we all love RV vacationing, there are certain challenges that come with this method of travel.  For instance, where to spend the evening on the road when traveling far distances from one location to the next is a common challenge for every RV traveler!  Many RV vacationers may not be aware of their choices in overcoming this challenge of finding a convenient and beautiful place to stay the night while in transition from one destination to the next.  Even if there are amazing sites and attractions nearby, spending night after night in Wal-Mart parking lots can become less than desirable.  And during the peak vacation season, finding an available campsite is not always possible.  Discover another and far better over-night camping option you now have with Harvest Hosts!

HARVEST HOSTS Winery Participant in Nottingham, New York

HARVEST HOSTS Winery Partner

Harvest Hosts is changing all of that.  Harvest Hosts is a program where wineries, farms, and breweries from all over the country open their gates to you for overnight dry camping.  Seasoned RV travelers Kim and Don Greene started this luxury-style camping concept in the U.S. after driving over 200,000 miles by RV all over the world.  They found that it was common for wineries and farms in Europe to host travelers overnight, but nothing similar existed in the United States. In true entrepreneurial spirit, they started their own version of a European hosting association.

From their small and localized upstart with locations only in California, Oregon, and Washington, Harvest Hosts has expanded to include numerous locations across the continental United States, Canada, and even Baja California in Mexico!  The program requires a nominal $40 membership fee for the entire year, giving you money-saving access to travel across North America without paying a cent for camping or parking!

Taste and Experience the Pleasure of RV Road Traveler!

Taste and Experience the Pleasure of the RV Road Traveler!

In return, these small (usually family-run) businesses simply ask that you purchase a bottle of wine or some of their other homemade goods.  Sampling local vintages and farm produce is already on the to-do list for most RV vacationers, so it’s a small price to pay for the great company and amazing locations available.  Free overnight parking added into the activities that you were already planning on is too good to pass up!  There’s really nothing like watching a sunset and sharing a glass of wine with the people that made it.

Once becoming a member, you can search through interactive maps that show available hosts and the amenities that they provide.  It’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure that the farm or winery you have in mind actually has space for you, though.  Many of the hosts are small-time operations that may not accommodate a large number of vehicles at one time.  That’s part of the charm, however.  Instead of an endless sea of RVs, you get the experience of potentially being your host’s only guest!  There’s nothing like waking up to a beautiful morning and being greeted only by the sound of the wind in the trees and farm animals starting their day.

Another benefit to being a member is access to a handy app that helps you find locations along the routes you are planning to take.  You can also use online forums where you may ask questions of other travelers, read up on host reviews, and even share your own vacation experiences and photos.  It’s a valuable tool for selecting the very best spots for your trip.

Overall, Harvest Hosts is providing a valuable service for small-town agricultural businesses and the RV vacationers that love to visit them.  Get out of the parking lots and start making beautiful memories and having the best RV trips of your life!

Once you’ve experienced this pleasurable and memorable RV experience, send us a few photos and we’ll happily share them with our readers and on El Monte RV’s facebook page!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE!  or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: RV at Winery by Ray & Roxanne Nottingham courtesy of Harvest Hosts and the wine and food photo by Colleen Lane is licensed under Flickr commons.

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Roll Through the Litchfield Hills in an RV

The northeast corner of our country has been populated for so long and by so many people that it can feel a bit crowded.  Many parts of New England can feel claustrophobic for travelers that want wide-open spaces.  Luckily, the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut are the perfect location to roll through while on an RV vacation!  Start out in Linden, New Jersey to pick up your RV rental at El Monte RV.  Once you’ve picked out the perfect motor home ride for your family, it’s time to hit the road!  You’ll get the chance to drive through the top of Manhattan Island, so take a good long look before you head out to the rural scenery of Litchfield Hills.  It’s a little piece of smaller-town America, not too far from all the noise and commotion of modern American cities.

Bull's Historic Covered Bridge

Historic Covered Bull’s Bridge

One of the best parts of traveling on the East Coast is reveling in the knowledge that you’re walking in the footsteps of dozens of interesting cultures, past and present.  At the Institute for American Indian Studies, you will learn about the early cultures that have lived in the Litchfield Hills over the past several thousand years.  Stroll through exhibits that show how American Indians lived or choose to participate in a dig with the Litchfield Hills Archaeology Club.  Whatever you decide to do, you’ll enjoy the experience of learning about the historical aspects of this part of the country!

Since you’re traveling by RV, your goal is to take it easy as you tour our great country.  A fantastic way to do so is by driving through some of the historic covered bridges spanning creeks and streams throughout the hills.  Some of the bridges were originally built as far back as the Revolutionary War!  As time has worn them down, the bridges have been rebuilt in the same style keeping the same look of the bridge as it was when it resupplied George Washington’s army.

After your own leisurely drive through the bridges, it’ll be time to catch a glimpse of a few fast-moving vehicles at Lime Rock Park.  This historic venue for races of all types have seen some of the greatest drivers in history pass through, including Mario Andretti and Paul Newman.  You may catch a race at the track, take racing school lessons, or simply walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery where racing history has been made!

Another way to get out and exercise your legs is by heading over to a local road race!  June is approaching, so you’ll want to get out now and start jogging for a little pre-conditioning warm-up.  The Litchfield Hills Road Race will take you through the historic town of Litchfield and up and down several elevation changes.  Get ready, because it’s guaranteed to get your blood pumping!

After a race, you might want to sit back and listen to some great music (and have some great food while you’re at it.)  The Infinity Music Hall and Bistro is a 300-seat theater built in 1883.  It’s a fantastic venue that showcases a variety of music genres.  Catch a country music show or even an open-mic night.  Whether it’s a big ticket show or locals showing the world what they’ve got, you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun and end your trip on a high note.

Pick up an El Monte RV motor home and roll through the Litchfield Hills!  The Northeast is calling!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE!  or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo Credit:  Bull’s Bridge by David Smith under Flickr creative common license.

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